According to LV insurance, 150 000 cars are stolen each year, two thirds of them taken with their key.
40% of thefts unreported
The LV report, which includes interviews with victims and convicted car thieves, shows that car thefts where the perpetrator steals keys now account for nearly two-thirds of all cars stolen. Just under 50% of car keys are stolen from a victim’s home during a burglary and six percent of victims reported having their keys taken forcibly.
It's estimated that up to 40% of car thefts go unreported as they are classified as burglary, which equates to an additional 58 735 vehicle thefts in 2012, raising the total to 146 838.
John O’Roarke, the insurer's MD, said: “Improvements in car security mean criminals place greater emphasis on stealing keys rather than forcing the ignition.
Cases of lifting, where a vehicle is put on a truck, have increased and account for 14% of thefts so far in 2012. How that is known is not explained as most cars are not recovered.
One criminal confessed: “I’ve lifted cars in broad daylight. Flat-bed truck and a luminous vest and people think you’re official. As long as you look the part nobody cares.”
Broken for parts
Many cars are stolen to order and thieves say the most sought-after cars are silver or black BMWs and black Audis. The least popular model? A yellow Smart.
Most stolen cars, however are broken for parts. According to one criminal, “A car is worth 10 times more in bits than it is as a whole.”